- When the MX Nationals first visited Culham in March, most riders praised the directors, as the track was one of the greatest they had ridden in quite some time. For this reason, hopes were high going into the event, but the circuit was met by an influx of negative reviews. Some liked it, Nathan Watson had this to say about the new layout; “I went out in practice expecting the track to be bad as a few people moaned about it, however, I really enjoyed the track.” Most weren’t overly pleased with how the track had been prepped, and parts of the new layout left some scratching their head. For instance the tight section by the finish, which was put in to slow the riders down, was quite odd and one-lined. There were a few races that could have featured a last corner pass for the win, had the corner allowed that. The track was watered and ripped on Saturday night, which improved it according to most.
- The battles that Kristian Whatley and Nathan Watson had at Culham were arguably some of the best we have seen this year. Whilst monitoring the lap times mid-race, it was clear that they were fairly evenly matched – just take a look at this small sample of times from the second moto.
Kristian Whatley (1st):
Nathan Watson (2nd):
- Todd Kellett returned from injury at Culham, the track that he broke the L1 in his back at earlier in the year, and made his debut in the premier MX2 class. It certainly wasn’t the easiest place to debut, as there was an influx of accomplished wildcard riders. Despite this Todd had a strong showing, posting a sixteenth (after a crash), thirteenth and ninth!
- The weekend was disastrous for both Ross Rutherford and Steven Clarke, as they didn’t even make it to the first turn in moto one. Ross came off worse, unfortunately, as he suffered a compound fracture in two toes, and both were dislocated too. Steven Clarke crashed too and emerged uninjured, but was quite banged up. We look forward to seeing both guys back out on-track.
- Shane Carless was the sole Oakleaf Kawasaki rider this past weekend, and he was working out of a much smaller set-up. Where was Priit Rätsep? He was not present due to a lack of budget. Priit was competing in his native Estonia instead, and went 4-3 for third overall.
- Aaron Booker made the mid-season switch to the MXY2 class at Culham, but it didn’t end well. Aaron crashed out of Culham back at the opening round of the MX Nationals and dislocated his hip. This past weekend he broke his wrist in third moto, and now seems to be out for the season. His brother, Jordan Booker, was hindered by crashes all weekend, as well as some set-up issues on day one, which stopped him from fighting for a spot inside of the top five.
- What happened to Ashley Wilde in the second moto? Ash was having a brilliant battle with Brad Anderson for eighth, but then got together with the Buildbase Honda rider and hit the ground hard, hence why he didn’t finish. Wilde posted two more top ten finishes in the other two motos, and continued his strong season. He’ll be beneath the Buildbase Honda tent next year, with extra support from Toughsheet.
- Steven Lenoir had a turbulent weekend, with highs and lows. After missing the second round with an injury, Steven needed to sweep all three motos in order to keep himself in title contention. He was obviously capable, but various issues kept him off the top step. On the Saturday he was quite ill and soldiered on through the first moto to finish seventh. After rebounding in the second moto and taking a clear victory, his bike let go in moto three whilst he was running up front. Steven has also confirmed that he has found a ride in the UK for next year; he was looking for one after it was revealed that Dantec Husqvarna UK was shutting their doors.
- There was a lot going on in the youth classes at Culham, as the series standings were shaken up quite a bit. Liam Knight made up a lot of ground in the MXY2 title fight, after failing to finish a race at Canada Heights. The Dyer and Butler KTM rider won three of the four motos and finished second in the final one, whilst his main rival, Josh Gilbert, crashed hard. Josh rolled around to salvage a couple of points, but his advantage has been cut down to nine measly points. The race is on!
- Dylan Woodcock is desperately trying to wrap up the Under 16 title a round early, as he will not be present at Foxhill due to his Monster Energy Cup commitments. Although he still has a comfortable points lead, his hopes of winning the title were dented when he failed to finish the third moto due to a mechanical fault with his Kawasaki. Although he rebounded to win the final moto, he lost valuable points to Marcus Phelps (the overall winner) and Brett Pocock (the runner up).
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: Elliot Spencer